Definition of civilized 

: characteristic of a state of civilization civilized society especially : characterized by taste, refinement, or restraint

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Examples of civilized in a Sentence

A civilized society must respond to crime with fairness and justice. Stop yelling. We have to be more civilized about this. Try to act like a civilized human being! a civilized way to spend the evening
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Recent Examples on the Web

No other civilized country accepts our level of gun violence. CBS News, "Arne Duncan: It's time to change the game on gun violence," 27 May 2018 In Greek mythology, cannibalism was seen as an abominable practice that divided the civilized and savage worlds. Pallavi Kottamasu,, "Were cannibals really so bad?," 2 June 2018 The debate was civilized and enlightened, especially in the take-no-prisoners world of social-media argument. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'Roseanne' revival stirs debate among comedians Silverman, Nanjiani, Eichner," 29 Mar. 2018 Afternoon tea The Drake Chicago, 140 E. Walton Place Follow in the footsteps of royalty with a visit to The Drake for afternoon tea, an oh-so-civilized tradition at the iconic hotel for nearly a century. Lori Rackl,, "Bicentennial bucket list: 20 essential Illinois drinks," 29 June 2018 The very act of transforming the wild into the civilized is a social one, requiring many people to work together. Charles Stanish, Smithsonian, "How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization," 5 July 2018 Romans today seem to enjoy an altogether more tranquil relationship with their past, somehow making antiquities part of the furniture of a civilized life lived largely outdoors. Greg Woolf, WSJ, "‘Rome: A History in Seven Sackings’ Review: The City That Survived," 29 June 2018 American actress Meghan Markle had become Her Royal Highness Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, hours earlier but in San Francisco, some royal enthusiasts postponed their celebration until a more civilized Pacific Standard Tea Time. Beth Spotswood, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF’s Crown and Crumpet’s high tea just the thing for royal wedding," 22 May 2018 The soothing riverwalk would be extended eastward, beneath Lake Shore Drive, as would a civilized little walkway that lines the Ogden Slip to the north of 400 N. Lake Shore Drive. Blair Kamin,, "New plans for Spire site: Arresting towers, solid urban design and room for improvement," 16 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'civilized.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of civilized

1611, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for civilized

Last Updated

19 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for civilized

The first known use of civilized was in 1611

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More Definitions for civilized



English Language Learners Definition of civilized

: marked by well-organized laws and rules about how people behave with each other

: polite, reasonable, and respectful

: pleasant and comfortable

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Comments on civilized

What made you want to look up civilized? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


by force of circumstances

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